Chemical Spills and How to Respond to It
Hazardous materials are all over and we come in contact with them each day. They can be used to help us in many tasks from home cleaning to powering our cars. If care is not exercised in using these things, no matter how useful they are, they can be very dangerous too. Knowing how to handle the accidental release of chemicals can save lives. The tiniest chemical released in the air or spilled on the floor, can become a major issues, so do not take this issue lightly.
If gas is released it is most dangerous because we cannot see it. If you have the right equipment and have the knowledge of what to do in case of an accidental release, then you can save your life and that of others too. There has to be an immediate action when hazardous gas, no matter how little, is released in the atmosphere. Knowing the measures in dealing with accidental chemical releases can keep you at ease and enable you to act decisively at once.
If your company has a hazard communication program, it is best to participate in it. In this program you will be learning about chemicals and how dangerous they are, chemical labeling and MSDS or materials safety data sheet. Your facility should also have a ‘Spill Guidelines’ which you should be familiar with. The ‘Emergency Response Plan’ is very useful and is good to have a copy for you.
All workers who are likely to witness a spill, leak or accidental release measure of a hazardous material should undergo the training on ‘First Response Awareness Level’. The employees must be trained on reporting procedures to use to initiate emergency response. There is a training for the first group of workers who actually respond to spills, called the ‘First Responder Operations Level’ training. This training for the first people on the scene is to enable them to secure and contain the issues.
The first responders are the ones who examine the situation and determine the next step to take. The decision could be to evacuate the place, set barriers around the spill so that spreading of the contamination will be prevented. Signs and caution tapes can be put up to warn others about the spill and prevent them from going in harm’s way.
The spill need to be contained next. The materials that have been specifically determined to use for the type of hazard that has been released should be used.
You should never use sandbags to stop any spill because they are not made to absorb hazardous substances.